President Donald Trump is responsible for nearly 38% of coronavirus misinformation in traditional media around the world, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University.
The study looked at what the World Health Organization has termed the "infodemic" of misinformation about the new coronavirus across 38 million traditional media articles published between Jan. 1 and May 26 in English-language media around the world.
"We found that media mentions of U.S. President Donald Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation made up by far the largest share of the infodemic," the study said, noting that Trump mentions comprised 37.9% of the overall misinformation conversation."The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around COVID," Sarah Evnega, the study's lead author and director of the Cornell Alliance for Science,
Overall, the findings were a mixed bag. The study found that less than 3% of traditional media articles included misinformation, but only 16.4% of the articles including fact-checking, "suggesting that the majority of COVID misinformation is conveyed by the media without question or correction."
All conspiracy theories combined for 46% of misinformation mentions. Nearly 300,000 involved miracle cures, 49,000 mentioned conspiracy theories about the "deep state," 40,000 mentioned Trump's conspiracy theory that the virus was a Democratic hoax and 29,000 mentioned the Trump-hyped conspiracy theory that the virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.
Conspiracy theories about Bill Gates' involvement with vaccines and 5G contributing to the spread of the virus were mentioned in more than 23,000 articles. Another 17,000 mentioned Antisemitic conspiracy theories, and 14,000 mentioned conspiracy theories about population control.
More than 11,000 articles mentioned conspiracy theories alleging Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was exaggerating the threat of the pandemic or stood to benefit from pharmaceutical treatments.